Friday, January 21, 2011

Slim Williams builds a boat with an axe and a tarp

    In 1939 my Uncle, John T. Logan rode, pushed, carried, and pulled, a motorcycle from Fairbanks Alaska to Seattle, Washington to show a road was not only possible, but also, the best route for a road that would connect the lower 48 to the remote northern territory. 

If you look closely you can see the motorcycle his partner, Slim Williams, is loading into a small boat that Slim built in two hours from scratch with an axe and a tarp.

           His partner was an old Alaska Sourddough, Slim Williams.  Slim had done the trip before in the Winter of 1933 by dog sled.  When Slim got to Seattle he took the wheels off a Model T Ford put them on his sled and kept on mushing all  the way to the Chicago World's Fair.

Eleanor Roosevelt said Slim and his dogs were her favorite exhibit and invited Slim to the White House.  “The driver has the kind of blue eyes that look away off to distant horizons,” said Mrs. Roosevelt.  “I loved his dogs.  They were grand.  I was careful of them and polite to them and asked if I might pat them.  There were two, only half wolf, that it was alright to pat.” Slim and his dogs went to the White House several times.

 Sometimes Slim built bridges with his axe.  It was getting dark and Slim and John were cold and tired and so they waited until morning to cross  the creek on their new bridge

A great cracking sound woke them up in the morning.  The creek was a fast running river and their bridge was gone.

Slim and John crossed over a hundred rivers.  Some of them by a raft they'd build on the spot from trees along the river bank and a tarp they used for a ground sheet or tent depending on the weather. John took photos, and 16 mm movies.  Click on this next link and you can see Slim, building the raft (click on "Access this Item" at the top of the link's page)  to cross the Klappan River, his only tool was an axe, in this remarkable archive film at the University of Alaska's Museum of Alaska

1 comment:

Tim McNamara said...

Thank you, Mr. Judd. When I was a young fellow I has read "Alaska Sourdough" by Richard Morenus. My Dad found Slim living with his wife in Old Town in Chicago. He was 88 when I first met him, sharp as a tack and a remarkable man and we visited with him several times. I am delighted that 40 years later there is still new information about Slim, and also Your uncle's great adventure with him. I had seen photos but knew nothing about your uncle.